16 answers

Night Time Potty Training for Almost 6 Year Old

My almost 6 year old son is still wearing diapers at night. He is such a sound sleeper and doesn't even wake up. We've attempted to train him and have done everything you are supposed to do including stopping liquids after 5:00 PM. His diaper is so full at night that 3 out of 7 nights he's leaked, even after double diapering. Pull ups have never seemed to work either. He doesn't mind wearing them, but he'd be happy to be out of them. I've told him once he is out of diapers at night I will give him the amount of money I spend on diapers in one month, which is motivating to him. I was thinking of setting a clock alarm for him in the middle of the night. I bought one a few months ago without realizing the off button was too hard for him to turn off.
My question is whether I should push the issue (my husband took awhile before he was out of diapers at night) or wait until he's ready. Anyone have any experiences with a late nighttime potty trainer?

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My brother had a problem wetting the bed and my parents tried everything. They would wake him up several times to go. They bought ann annoying pee alarm that would go off loudly as soon as it got wet and a few other things. Nothing seemed to work until he was actually ready.
I have heard of putting thicker pants on so they feel it more when they are wet because the pee gets trapped in the thick fabric and they stay wet longer.

L., A friend of mine had this same problem ..she set a bell alarm and when it when off she and her husband would go in and wake up their son and bring him to the bathroom..after awhile their son would automatically wake up to go himself..They did not put diapers on him. You just have to have an idea of when he does wet. (You will soon find out because they do not like to wake up in a wet bed).

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Hi L.,

I think the alarm idea is good, but I think it should be you doing the waking, instead of the alarm for him. We did this with our oldest, now 5 1/2, where we would wake her at 11pm, and take her. She would go every time...and a lot. Now, she if she needs to go at night, her little body wakes her, and she just goes by herself.

Two reasons why it's better for you to take him: 1)He'll be groggy, and may need a little help getting there. 2) He sees that you are awake too, and he appreciates it.

My daughter has really only wet the bed maybe 3 times, but it was because she was afraid to ge up out of bed. Not afraid of monsters, but afraid that my husband and I would get mad at her for getting out of bed. Yah, not logical, but what kid is at that age? Now I have a night light that guides her to the bathroom when she needs to at night, and I remind her every night that it's ok for her to get up and go if she needs to.

Good Luck!

Mari

L., A friend of mine had this same problem ..she set a bell alarm and when it when off she and her husband would go in and wake up their son and bring him to the bathroom..after awhile their son would automatically wake up to go himself..They did not put diapers on him. You just have to have an idea of when he does wet. (You will soon find out because they do not like to wake up in a wet bed).

He's only 5. My 7 yr old still wets once in awhile. Its normal especially with boys. Those alarms don't really work and aren't recomended unless your child is over the age of 8 they have medication but you have to be realy careful with it because if he has too much fluid it could cause serious side effects. Don't push it and don't punish him or reward him if he stays dry or wets because its not something he is able to controle yet. If you try to do a reward system it will be harder on him when he fails. They have quite a few good books out there plus some children's books too. I can't check right now but I have two books if you want the names I can get them for you one of my friends is borrowing them. I found one of them more helpful than the other.

Have you had him checked for an immature bladder? This my be the cause and he should out grow it. Please have a talk with your pediatrician, children with this cannot control it and should not be punished or penalized. A dear friends son had this problem and she made him assist in changing his bed daily and doing the laundry [sheets and pajamas] Good luck

My brother had a problem wetting the bed and my parents tried everything. They would wake him up several times to go. They bought ann annoying pee alarm that would go off loudly as soon as it got wet and a few other things. Nothing seemed to work until he was actually ready.
I have heard of putting thicker pants on so they feel it more when they are wet because the pee gets trapped in the thick fabric and they stay wet longer.

Our oldest had the same issue. We bought Good Nights at BJ's and we not only stopped the liquids after 5:30 but we would wake him up, carry him into the bathroom before we went to bed and he would go and then be dry in the a.m. After a week of doing this we gave the rest of the good nights away. Even still at almost 7 years old if he has had a super lot to drink during the day, I'll get him up and bring him in as he is still a very sound sleeper. Otherwise though, he does get up in the middle of the night and go. It will happen for your son, I promise!

My daughter has a similar issue, and we haven't found anything to help either. I did start using Overnights a while back and they work better than traditional diapers, but look like pull ups. I buy them by the case at BJ's, and they are cheaper than diapers per box.

S.

Hi L.,
Hang in there... this is a tough one, especially when you can't sense the light at the end of this wet sheet filled tunnel! I have an 7.5 year old boy who still wets at least a couple of times a week. This has just started to subside in the last few months. I have tried everything except the night time underpants alarm. I have heard good things about these alarms, but have opted not to use it. What has worked for us is limiting fluids like you have, also having him go to the bathroom a few extra times before bed. Also, I get him up to go right before I go to bed. My husband works 2nd shift and gets him up when he gets home at 130am. We've began decreasing the number of times we wake him at night. He also was having such difficulty waking we talked to his pedi who recommended a visit to an ENT. The ENT ordered a sleep study (also because our younger daughter had severe sleep apnea). So it ended up that he also had very bad sleep apnea and they took out his tonsils and adnoids. It has made a big difference! He is so much better rested. There is evidence that children who have sleep apnea wet their beds because they don't fully fall asleep until much later then when they go to bed and that causes them to go into a much deeper sleep later and they are less aware/unable to wake themselves up or to hold the pee in this state contributing to the bed wetting. Then there is also the immature bladder possibility (they do outgrow this). Anyway, talk to your pedi. Your son is still on the young side, try not to worry, you're on the right track it sometimes just takes time. Good luck!

L.,

I know how frustrating this must be for you. My sister is going through this with her 10 year old...yes I did say 10. He is one of the best kids...active, popular and has been day time trained since he was 2 1/2, but at nighttime he sleeps like a rock! The docs say this is often times genetic and that some kids bodies just aren't ready until 12! We are talking 10-15% of the population. My 5 year old is always soaked, but our 4 year old is almost never. So I am just waiting a few years. Try not to make him feel bad about it. It is all wrapped up in their self esteem, and if they don't feel like they are constantly disappointing you they should come out of this okay.

I wish you luck and strength..this too shall pass!

H. Z. (SAHM 5, 4 and 18 month old boys)

I'm right there with you, though instead of diapers or disposable pullups we've got cloth. That was an economic decision.

I plan to check in with his pediatrican at his 6 year appointment. At least one of his cousins was very late to night train, so I'm less worried than tired. Reading, there are 3 biological things that need to develop. 2 are a horomone that reduces output and the urinary sphincter - I don't remember the 3rd.

My cloth solution is Happy Heiny's pocket trainers, 2 hemp inserts and 1 folded microfiber towel - I can do more or less as needed.

Have you spoken to the doctor about him wetting so much at night? Does he use the bathroom a lot during the day? I've never experienced this, but I think I would talk to the doctor before I pushed the issue. It sounds like it's something he can't control and can't help. Good luck.

M.

Hi L.,

Check again on how much your limiting him on liquids before bed time. Sometimes this happens with boys, there bladder is not work correctly. I would have him checked out. I would not reward him or ever make him feel bad about having an accident. I did this for a very long time with my older son, rubber sheets and plenty of pjs. He grew out of it eventually. Patients is needed as he can not help it. Make sure he goes potty before bed. I used to run the sink water to make sure he goes, for some reason this made him pee a lot! Good luck!

Honey, you may simply have a bedwetter there. It happens and often. If his ped says everything else is ok then that is what it is.
First, please stop at trying to fix it. Worse thing you can do with a child. It causes them to become stressed and fixated and thinking they are bad and doing something wrong. It hinders ever so much more than it helps.
There are night time pull ups for such problems.
Just get him some of those and tell him he can use them until he is able to be dry.
Fix the bed with mattress protector, and even can put medical pads to catch the leaks.
Leave it at that.
I have a 13 year old grandson who is not quite dry every single night yet. His doc says he is outgrowing it and noone knows why some children wet at night and most dont.
He is not the oldest bedwetter I have run into in my life either. I have heard of teens still wetting occassionally.
Must be devastating for them.
Just treat it the way it is, casually, buy the pull ups ( and I KNOW how expensive they are as I buy them for grandson when he is here overnight)
Give it all a tincture of time.
Best wishes and God bless,
Grandmother Lowell

Hi L., you are not alone. My 12 year old son has to wear depends to bed. We tried waking him up in the middle of the night, the alarm you attach to your underwear.... We brought him to our pediatrician who suggested we have him checked out by a professional urologist up at Children's Hospital in Boston. They did some scans and end up founding a cyst on his right kidney. This has nothing to do with the wetting but nevertheless they are keeping an eye on it but do think it is nothing. Both the urologist and my pediatrician who I trust implicitly say that some kids just take a while. It is not as uncommon as you think from what the docs say. And it was explained to me that it comes down to a mechanism of the bladder telling the brain that it is full but it just doesnt make that connection. It will eventually. My son is a sound sleeper as well. He hates that he is going thru this but we dont make a big deal out of it anymore as he truly can not help it. He gets up, strips his bed and washes his soiled laundry. I know in time this too shall pass and I thank God that is all we have to deal with. I know its hard for both of you, but honestly, be thankful he will eventually grow out of it and it is not life threatening. I do know there is a hollistic remedy that is supposed to help with bed wetting sold at Whole Foods. I have not tried it but am thinking of it. I hope I helped.

My older son had stayed dry through the night and then around 8 yrs or so started wetting the bed at night. We had him checked out by the pediatrician and his urologist to be sure ti wasn't related to hypospadia surgeries.

Two issues - 1) he wasn't always aware of his body in many different situations and when awake, wouldn't realize he had to pee until it became urgent. 2) He is a VERY heavy sleeper (slept through fire alarms in his dorm and colleges use a high volume!).
So in order for him to feel he had to pee and for it to be strong enough to wake him, we were told to give a drink just before he went to bed. I know, sounded crazy. But it worked after a few nights of us waking him midway through the night to go. The urge to pee was strong enough to wake him when he had a really full bladder.
Now that was 15 years ago and medical research may have changed - but it was a great solution for us.

I had two kids who wet the bed until they were 11 or 12(boy and girl). My oldest was completely trained, night and day by his second birthday. He obviously didn't inherit the "bed wetting gene". It runs in families and there just isn't much you can do about it. It's tough, but they do grow out of it. Both of mine were very sound sleepers too. They did okay on sleepovers as they got older because they didn't sleep so hard. My kids were on the extreme end of bed wetting. When their bodies were ready, they stopped. They learned how to strip a bed and wash sheets at an early age (NOT as a punishment- I did this chore on schooldays). We were just matter of fact about the whole thing. It helped them to know that their grandfather and uncle had the same issue and outgrew it. I bet your little guy will stop wetting the bed much sooner. Good luck. It will pass in time and you'll be surprised how quickly you forget it was even an issue!

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